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Anti-Stingray Prejudice?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Misterwogan, Oct 20, 2013.

  1. I started playing exactly one year ago and I reckon I'm now competent enough to try playing in public, whether in a pub as part of a blues trio or in a jam session. I'll be playing Blues almost exclusively.

    I have three basses. In order of my preference: Stingray (3 band eq), Jazz Am Std and Precision Am Std. The Ray is my favourite simply because it is for me the most comfortable to play. Maybe it's something to do with the flatter fretboard radius – I dunno, and that I can dial-in almost any tone I need - but the Ray just fits me like a glove and it's this bass that I would like to gig with.

    Over the last year I've become aware of the settled view (amongst bass players at least) that for blues you gotta have a P or failing that a J. Rays are solely for Funk, Slap and maybe rock – definitely not for the Blues. Now I know that I can nail the blues tone with my Ray...

    What I need to know is: how real is this view out there in gig-land?
    Am I likely to turn up at a gig and be told by the drummer or guitarist that there's no way they're playing with a Stingray?

    Any advice based upon real-world experiences would be most appreciated.
  2. I don't have a Stingray, nor do I intend to buy one. I'm a short-scale guy. However, a very active bass player has used a 5 string Stingray for years and played blues, folk, rock, jazz and country on it. Maybe other genres, too, for all I know. He always sounded great, if not better. What helps is that he knows how to play, which is more important than what brand of bass you use.
  3. PJ Muzikmansky

    PJ Muzikmansky

    Jan 4, 2013
    I've used a single 'H' 3 band stingray 4 on tons of gigs, including blues, and while the bass itself sounds great: i.e. punchy and thick, the G string tends to sound a bit *thin* (in fact it often just disappears). Also, one thing you don't want (IMO) with blues-bass is brightness, zing,and sizzle so you've got to understand how to EQ a 'Ray to manage this. I would also suggest you use medium/heavy gauge flats to tame the sizzle.
  4. I think it's highly unlikely people will not want to play blues with you because you use a Stingray. More likely, the guitarist and drummer wont know the difference anyway.

    Interesting thing about the Stingray... The pickup position contributes to its distinctive zingy sound in more than one way. In addition to it hearing that particular portion of string, it also has player plucking in that position because they tend to rest their thumb on the pickup. But you can get a more traditional thumpy sound from a Stinray by simply plucking closer to the neck.
  5. hasbeen

    hasbeen Commercial User

    Sep 23, 2004
    Vice President, KMC Music. Warwick U.S. distribution, Ampeg distribution
    a Ray is better for a lot more styles than you mention. Check out Pino or Tony Levin with their fat R&B and/or blues bass lines and tones.

    I can't imagine blues players sending you packing because you don't have a P.
  6. Kmonk


    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan, Nordstrand Pickups, Korg , Conquest Sound
    I think the perception that a Stingray should be used for slap comes from the fact that Flea has used them. He has also used a Fender Jazz and several other basses over the years. Any bass can be used for anything if you know how to set your EQ properly. If you look at your favorite bands you will see a wide variety of basses being used. It's really a matter of personal preference. I owned a 5 string Stingray for a short time. I got rid of it because there were dead spots on the fretboard. Play what you like and don't let anyone tell you what to play.
  7. Since you are just starting out, one of the things you will learn as you get a few more years under your belt is that NO ONE cares what amp and instrument you have if you kick it on the gig, and play appropriately for the context in which you are performing.

    Relax, play the bass that makes you happy, and play appropriately for the genre:)
  8. I agree. When I was a guitarist, I certainly would not have cared so long as the bass tone worked for the song.
  9. Lobomov


    Aug 2, 2013
    I'm mainly a guitar player too ... so my experiences are mainly from the other side. But skill and chemistry has always been the important than whatever instrument a bass player brings.

    There was a thread here a while ago with a bandleader that only accepted a P, but unless you are planning on selling your fenders, you can always just bring your stingray and in those rare occasions decide whether you like the band enough to just tell them, that you'll bring the P next time or take a stand.

    Most likely it doesn't even have to be a fender, so if with time you find a Sandberg, Lakland or whatever that looks the part, but is more comfortable to you than the Fenders, that will probably be just fine as well.

    Don't worry about it.
  10. georgestrings

    georgestrings Banned

    Nov 5, 2005
    No - but if it does happen, consider it a blessing - you'll know then that you're dealing with wankers, and that would be a good time to find someone better to play with... There are some situations where using a P bass would be more welcome, but it shouldn't be that big a deal at this point of your playing progress...

    - georgestrings
  11. Febs

    Febs Supporting Member

    May 7, 2007
    Philadelphia, PA
    +1. Noone has EVER complained to me because I brought my Stingray to a gig rather than my P or J, or vice versa.
  12. smcd

    smcd Supporting Member

    Jun 28, 2009
    Boston, MA
    I have never ever heard of anyone looking down on someone playing a Stingray. And I know some serious gear snobs.
  13. GrumpiusMaximus

    GrumpiusMaximus I've Seen Things You People Wouldn't Believe

    Mar 11, 2013
    Kent, United Kingdom
    Absolutely. I had a situation with a band a few months ago and I eventually discovered that they were actually a bunch of cowardly wankers rather than the guys I thought they were.

    Shame, they had good songs.
  14. iunno


    Dec 16, 2010
    I think the Stingray has become accepted as a standard bass now, like a P or a J. I don't think you'll have any problems, just learn to use the EQ.
  15. jd-ns


    Sep 28, 2010
    A stingray is an excellent choice for any gig. If it sounds terrible the problem is not the bass... ;)
  16. IncX


    Jul 23, 2007
    the stingray is a very zingy bass by default, so expect to be cutting out treble and mids while boosting bass. at least that is how i deal with it, especially since i have a very strong attack.

    i used to annoy the band back then because i was used to setting all of my bass EQs to flat, and when i play on a stingray, i did not noticed i was clicking and clacking all over the place with my attack.
  17. mpdd

    mpdd neoconceptualist

    Mar 24, 2010
    my only blues issue was new hi beams, other than that the hollow body, grabber, l2k, sb-2, p ,jazz, and clubmaster could all do it
  18. That's why it's such a versatile bass, you can click and clack or not click and clack. That's what the knobs are for.
  19. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya Looking for a gig around East Islip, NY!

    Jan 13, 2008
    Use what you're comfortable with. What you'll find after playing out regularly is that no one really cares what you play as long as you sound good.

    *edit* Okay, some people will care, but as Dr. Seuss says, "Those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind." Don't stress over it. And for what it's worth, I like my Ray over my P and J basses, too :)
  20. Some people *will* care about your instrument, but more than likely it will have to do with colour and shape. A Stingray is not very far from a Fender in terms of body shape, so most non-bassists wouldn't even notice the difference I would think.

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